Elden Street Players The Musical Of Musicals: The Musical!By Betsy Marks Delaney • Oct 28th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Elden Street Players
Industrial Strength Theater, Herndon, VA
Through November 14th
$22/$19 Seniors and Students
1:45 with one intermission
Reviewed October 24th, 2009
The Musical Of Musicals: The Musical! (TMOM:TM!) is – you guessed it – a musical! Originally produced in 2005 off-Broadway with music by Eric Rockwell, lyrics by Joanne Bogart, book by Rockwell & Bogart, the show has been produced by several companies in the metro DC area.
Speaking as a huge “meta-theatre” fan, TMOM: TM! has been on my must-see list for some time. I was thrilled to discover the humor and outright intelligence in the storyline, which presents the same simple premise in five styles of the cream of Broadway’s crop: Rogers & Hammerstein, Sondheim, Herman, Webber and Kander & Ebb. It was a pleasant surprise to discover TMOM: TM! is not just a musical revue (like Closer than Ever) or a direct homage to musicals past (like Crazy for You). No jukebox musical or compilation, but rather an original work in loving homage to the big guys and to the humble beginnings of American theatre: The melodrama.
From the jazzy preshow and intermission standards in Kevin Harney‘s sound design, to Michael Sherman‘s fabulous back wall posters and Dan Deisz‘s deceptively simple unit setting, to Kathy Dunlap and Laura Ransbotham‘s “morphing” costumes on a theme, the Elden Street Players’ production is truly in sync. Director Wade Corder and choreographer Amanda M. Cane have done a bang-up job, but the show would be nothing, without the substantial talents of four actors: Mark W. Gray-Mendes (Willy), Mimi Preda (June), Jane E. Petkofsky (Abby) and Brent Stone (Jitter), and their pianist, music director Beth Atkins, who is every bit a part of the cast.
Thoroughly enjoyable, TMOM:TM! proves that with just a few talented actors and a deft handling of the music and movement, you can create an enormously entertaining evening of theatre. The puns come thick and fast in this Broadway send-up. You don’t have to know all the inside jokes to appreciate the humor, though knowing the original material will certainly enhanced your experience. See the show while you can!
Thank you all for coming to see The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! (TMOM:TM!) I am extraordinarily excited to be working on such a terrific show, especially here with The Elden Street Players.
TMOM:TM! was written by Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart as a celebration of great Broadway musicals. They performed it as a cabaret act originally with just the two of them, each taking turns at the piano. The York Theatre produced it as a full show, adding two more actors, still with two alternating at the piano. Developed with a set consisting of only a ladder and piano, no costume changes, and one prop, it transferred to off Broadway in 2003 for a SOO-performance run at New World Stages.
In 2007, my producer and I saw the multi-award winning, hilarious production of TMOM:TM! at MetroStage in Alexandria, and immediately started dreaming of working on it ourselves. The joyous memory of the laughter we shared that night, as well as the thrill of their brilliant use of a huge number of props and complicated set, kept us excited about the show for years.
A year and a half later, and a year and a half ago, Elden Street Players invited us to mount the show here at the Industrial Strength Theatre. Who knew that not only would Dominion Stage produce the show, but that MetroStage would also bring their production back to celebrate their 25th anniversary all within the last year!
With that in mind, I decided to model this show on the original concept. We have few costumes, fewer props, and a gorgeous but simple set. What we’ve developed is very new. And very exciting.
I offer my deepest gratitude to The Elden Street Players, my terrific crew, especially Stage Manager, Don Petersen, the fantastic design team, and very talented cast.
I hope you enjoy this “Valentine to Broadway” as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.
Photos by Sheila Price.
- Willy: Mark W. Gray-Mendes
- Abby: Jane E. Petkofsky
- June: Mimi Preda
- Jitter: Brent Stone
- Pianist: Beth Atkins
- Producer: Janet Bordeaux
- Assisted by: Richard Hildebrand
- Director: Wade Corder
- Music Director : Beth Atkins
- Choreographer/Assistant Director: Amanda M. Cane
- Stage Manager: Don Petersen
- Set Designer: Dan Deisz
- Master Carpenter: Marty Sullivan
- Set Construction: John Shea, Phil Archey, Bill Behan, Theresa Bender, Dave Durand, Glen Bartram, Richard Hildebrand
- Set Painting Design: Mary Rose Vasko
- Assisted by: Hilary Huse, Theresa Bender, Janice Rivera
- Special Artwork: Michael Sherman
- Lighting Designer: Adam Konowe
- Assisted by: Jon Halverson, Karen Schlumpf, Jeff Boatright
- Master Electrician: Peter Halverson
- Light Board Operators: Peter Halverson, Jake Huber, Hilary Huse, Leslie Peterson, Laura Moody
- Sound Design: Kevin Harney
- Sound Board Operators: Jake Huber, Hilary Huse, Leslie Peterson, Janice Rivera, Laura Moody
- Costume Designers: Kathy Dunlap, Laura Ransbotham
- Hair/Makeup Design: The Cast
- Set Dressing/Props: Mike Smith
- Audition Accompanists: Brian Victor, Elisa Rosman, Willis Rosenfeld
- House Management: Dave Sinclair
- Box Office Management: Melody Fetske, Theresa Bender, Michael Broussard, Mary Ann Hall
- Publicity: Jeff Boatright, Todd Huse, Ginger Kohles
- Playbill: Ginger Kohles
- Photography: Sheila Price
- Cover Art: James Morgan (Cover Artwork made available by New York Producers)
Disclaimer: Elden Street Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/4280.
Betsy Marks Delaney is founder and Artistic Director of OutOftheBlackBox Theatre Company (O2B2) and General Manager of the Greenbelt Arts Center. Since 2006 Betsy has worked as a director, producer, designer and more. Betsy has also worked with Washington Revels, Arena Stage, the now-defunct Harlequin Dinner Theatre and with community theatre companies both in Maryland and in upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. Through Hawkeswood Productions, Betsy produces archival performance videos and YouTube highlight spots.